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Dentists in Scotland on same contract as junior doctors to take part in strike

Scottish dentists employed on the same contract as junior doctors will join the 72-hour walkout over pay, it has been confirmed.

The British Dental Association (BDA) said 91% of the cohort backed industrial action for better pay, with a turnout of 79%.

They will join their junior doctor colleagues in a three-day strike over pay amid calls for a 23.5% increase on top of inflation.

The British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland’s ballot saw 97% backing the walkout following a 71% turnout.

A 4.5% increase had previously been rejected.

Eddie Crouch, chair of the BDA, said: “Our members stand ready to do whatever it takes to secure a fair deal on pay.

“Just like their medical colleagues, these dentists aren’t worth a penny less than they were a decade ago.

“We’re hopeful that a negotiated settlement can be found. But our members will take strike action if the Scottish Government fails to come back to the table with a serious offer. ”

Dates for the walkout have yet to be confirmed, however Scotland’s Health Secretary Michael Matheson said NHS boards in Scotland have been asked to draw up contingency plans.

Mr Matheson on Thursday said he was “disappointed” the BDA had voted to strike which “would be in no-one’s interest”.

“I will continue to do all I can to avert industrial action in NHS Scotland,” he said.

“Negotiations to agree a pay uplift are already under way. As these negotiations are held in confidence, it would be inappropriate to offer any further details at this time.”

Union chiefs have warned dates will be announced if a “credible” pay offer is not submitted.

Scottish Parliament
Scotland’s Health Secretary Michael Matheson said the pay demands were unaffordable (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

Mr Matheson has however said the demands from junior doctors were “simply unaffordable”.

The industrial action follows strikes by junior medics in England who walked out for three days in March and four days in June.

A survey by the BDA was raised by the Scottish Tories in Holyrood on Tuesday after it found 83% of respondents anticipated reducing their personal commitment to the NHS in the next 12 months.

It said there had been an “exodus” of dentists from NHS work after only a fifth of practices returned to their pre-Covid capacities.

Scotland’s Public Health Minister Jenni Minto said the industry was facing a “number of difficulties” but denied NHS dentistry was in crisis.